The Sun is Also a Star – REVIEW
Thank you to Maria Jackson for contributing this film review for ForAllNerds.com!
The Sun Is Also a Star – Film Review
Based on Nicola Yoon’s equally dreamy book, The Sun is Also a Star tells the story of practical, guarded Natasha Kingsley (Yara Shahidi) and passionate, open hearted Daniel Bae (Charles Melton). A mixture of Before Sunrise and opposites attract, the two spend a single day together around NYC. One a dreamer born to practical parents, the other a pragmatist born to a romantic, Natasha and Daniel live in rhyme. They’re both first generation children who struggle with duty to family and fulfilling their personal ambitions.
In the aftermath of her father’s doomed artistic aspirations, Natasha has decided her future self should be someone necessary and non theoretical. She’s dedicated to the proveable and divorced from the idea of passion. Shahidi’s quick, sharp, witty, and determined performance pumps liveliness into a character who could easily be a overly dry Gen Z version of Daria. Daniel’s life has been defined by his parent’s desires for his future stability. A loving son, he wants to please them, but cannot stop his heart from pumping ink enough to fill notebooks of poetry. Enamored with the idea of “meant to be”, he leads with his emotions. Melton delivers potent game with an unshakeable confidence and eyes that smolder with the searing heat of a shooting star entering the atmosphere.
Unlike other romantic comedies where the hatred born by differences is used as passion for the nearly inexplicable climax, TSiAaS is clear about who these characters are and how they work. Their polarities allow the other to open themselves to paths they previously had eschewed. The duo at the center of this teen romance are so charming and full with chemistry it’s nearly impossible to resist the gravitational pull of their fall. Book readers will note changes that have occurred in the leap to the silver screen are several and most are well done, improving on the original material. However, there are a few voice over scenes that wedge themselves between the leads and kill the action, causing the pacing to feel uneven and killing the momentum. The film also focuses more on Daniel’s family, and the lack of scenes involving the Kingsleys was felt to the point of that those unfamiliar with the text were remarking on their absence.
However, this is a film with Black girl as the romantic lead, who is chased, protected, respected and desired, treated with kindness and care. A film where she is all about STEM, ponders multiverse theory, and astronomy paired with a sweeping romance that makes sense and doesn’t involve a white person at all feels tailor made for me. After the dozens of supernatural and dystopian YA that peppered our screens for years I’m all about this very human YA romance renaissance.